Before we even get to college, we hear horror stories about dorm life and prepare to move into an apartment ASAP following freshman year. In reality, dorms are more like all-inclusive resorts than houses of horror. Dorms allow students to delay the responsibilities of adulthood for a few more years and fully experience college. What 20-year-old wouldn’t want that?
Here are 10 good reasons to live in a dorm for all four years.
1. Cleaning service included
One of the greatest perks of living in a dorm is the cleaning service. Not only does the cleaning service do your dirty work, but it also saves you time. The facility staff takes out the trash, refills the soap and toilet paper, disinfects the bathrooms and vacuums the common areas — all before you even get out of bed for class! You have the rest of your life to do your own cleaning so let someone else do it for you for a year … or four.
This is an obvious but highly underrated advantage. Your dorm is within walking distance to class, readily prepared food in the cafeteria, the perfect study environment in the library, on-campus parties, sporting events and your best friend’s room. Plus, you don’t have to worry about driving to campus or getting parking tickets.
3. Great place to meet new people
Often housing over 100 students, dorms allow you to casually meet people outside of your usual social scene. Whether you are gathering people to play an impromptu game of volleyball or rallying people to make a late-night fast-food run, you have the opportunity to meet a wide variety of people that you may not normally run into.
Unless you are living in a highly secure apartment complex (which is usually pretty expensive), most apartments are only protected by the door lock and maybe an entrance gate.
Dorms, however, usually require special key-card access in addition to a door key and are monitored at night by the RA. College campuses often have blue-light security phones around campus and have surveillance by a campus security patrol and/or video cameras. Many schools also provide night shuttles to dorms and escorts for students upon request.
5. Free stuff from your RA
Do you remember freshman year when the RA would shower you with candy for every holiday, throw tie-dye parties and assemble finals week stress-reliever packages? That doesn’t have to stop after freshman year.
All RAs are usually required to provide monthly activities for their residents that normally involve giving away free stuff, especially food. These freebies may sound like inconsequential perks, but you can really fill your stomach and accumulate a lot of free stuff over the years.
6. No bills
You may not fully appreciate this luxury until you live in an apartment. Unlike apartments, dorms do not have leases or monthly bills so there is no worrying about legal contracts or late payments. You pay one big price at the beginning of the semester that usually includes all utilities, Wi-Fi and cable. Also, you don’t have to deal with resetting that pesky Wi-Fi router or running out of hot water.
7. No furniture moving
With everything you want to bring and everything your mom snuck into your bag when you weren’t looking, you already have enough stuff to bring to college. Why add heavy furniture to that list? Plus, an unfurnished apartment will probably require shelves, a dining table, couch and television. All of that is in addition to your bed, dresser and desk. I’m getting stressed out and tired from just thinking about searching, buying, moving and then selling and disposing of all of that furniture at the end of the year.
8. Ultimate entertainment centers
Most dorms will have a game room or at least one form of entertainment. At my university, each dorm had a ping-pong or pool table, a large television in the common rooms and shared access to outdoor basketball and volleyball courts. Sometimes, friends who lived off campus would come to the dorms just to play volleyball or ping-pong. If your dorm does not have any form of entertainment, your hall can put in a request to the RA. My freshman hall requested a new ping-pong table and actually received one within reasonable time.
9. Customize your dorms
Just because you live in a dorm doesn’t necessarily mean you have to live on a hall, share a bathroom with 12 other people or even have a roommate. Many schools offer different types of dorms for upperclassmen. If you don’t want to share a hall bathroom, look into your school’s option for a suite-style dorm. If you don’t want a roommate, then live in a single-occupancy room. If you enjoy cooking, look into the dorm with the best kitchen or look if your school offers an apartment-style dorm. You can still reap all the benefits of living in a dorm without compromising what you really want.
10. Once-in-a-lifetime experience
Dorm life is an integral part to having the complete college experience. People who are ready to turn in their shower shoes after one or two years of dorm life may forget that the dorm experience is a unique opportunity. That not-so-pleasant roommate or that awkward bathroom encounter becomes an amusing story to tell. You will never be this age again and have the convenience — and fun — that a dorm provides. Remember, living in a dorm is only available for four years out of your entire life.
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